As I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Trevor Hoffman got creamed last night. He came in to preserve a 3-2 lead in the ninth against the Pirates, but gave up a leadoff homer to Ronny Cedeno which tied the game. He then loaded the bases
and gave up a grand slam to Ryan Doumit. Both homers were hit really hard.
now blown three saves, has given up five homers in eight innings after allowing only two in 54
innings last season. I mentioned his reluctance to use his changeup this morning, but as Tom Haudricort notes, that has an awful lot to do with not getting his fastball over the plate early in the count to get ahead (and then having to throw his fastball over the plate late in the count, which looks like batting practice).
Hoffman is a legend and everything so it’s not like he’s going to suddenly
lose his job, but Ken Macha has to be concerned. If the struggles continue, he’s going to have to look for another closer. Where to go if Hoffman continues to not get the job done? LaTroy Hawkins is a possibility, but it’s not like he’s pitching very well this year himself (8.64 ERA). Maybe the best bet would be Carlos Villanueva, who has struck out 14 guys in 11 innings, only allowing 5 hits.
Hopefully it won’t come to that, though, and here’s hoping Hoffman can turn it around.
Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.
Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:
Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.
He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.